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North Ogden creek by Village at Prominence Point is focus of cleanup effort

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 17, 2021
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Spencer Alexander crouches along the bank of Coldwater Creek in North Ogden on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. He's spearheading a cleanup effort of the waterway on Saturday, Sept. 18.
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Spencer Alexander stands along the bank of Coldwater Creek in North Ogden on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. He's spearheading a cleanup effort of the waterway on Saturday, Sept. 18.
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Spencer Alexander gestures toward Coldwater Creek in North Ogden while speaking Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. He's spearheading a cleanup effort of the waterway on Saturday, Sept. 18.

NORTH OGDEN — Spencer Alexander has long clamored for moves to protect Coldwater Creek, the stream that meanders through the southern part of North Ogden on the periphery of the Village at Prominence Point development, still taking shape.

“I’m just too stubborn,” he said.

And as debate over a proposal from Village at Prominence Point reps to shift a short section of the creek simmers — a point of heated contention and now a lawsuit as well — he’s at it again, planning a public effort on Saturday to clean part of the waterway. His hope is to remove some of the concrete chunks that suspected contractors have placed along its banks over the years.

“Hopefully those optics help people understand the possibilities with that waterway,” he said. The cleanup initiative starts at 8:30 a.m., with participants to meet near the bank of Coldwater Creek off 1900 North west of Washington Boulevard.

The unique creek — fed by natural springs — is, as its name suggests, a coldwater stream, thus the temperature of the water stays cool, even in the summer, making it a safe habitat for trout. But it’s been neglected over the years, evidenced by the concrete chunks and extensive overgrowth, and now some, like Alexander, worry it’ll be adversely impacted by the Village at Prominence Point development as well.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner

Coldwater Creek in North Ogden is photographed Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. A cleanup effort focused on the creek is set for Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

Village at Prominence Point is a massive planned community calling for 600-plus housing units — homes, townhomes and apartments — on 33 acres west of Washington Boulevard between 1900 North and 1700 North. It’s been a sore point for some given the magnitude of the development and delays in completing some facets of the plans.

Similarly, the proposal to shift a section of Coldwater Creek on the northwestern edge of the development has also sparked opposition from some. Jack Barrett, the Arizona developer who’s the main force behind the development, wants to move the creek to create more space to build three proposed patio homes. The plan would entail moving a 154-foot-long section of the creek to the northwest and straightening it, creating more land on the east side of the waterway for the three proposed homes.

The Coldwater Creek section that would be shifted isn’t part of the area that’s the focus of Saturday’s cleanup campaign. It sits more to the west, south of 1900 North and east of 150 East.

Even so, concerns about the impact of such change figure in the efforts of Alexander and other defenders of the waterway. The change could harm the critters that use the waterway, some fear, or give it the look of a ditch, not a natural creek. And Barrett’s proposal has become the focus of a lawsuit filed last June in 2nd District Court in Ogden by Neil Amaral, who would lose part of his backyard per the plan.

Daren Rasmussen, a stream alteration specialist with the Division of Water Rights in the Utah Department of Natural Resources, said he’s awaiting more details on the plans from Barrett, represented in the matter by Jerry Draper, a local engineer.

“It’s just basically on hold, waiting for the information I’ve asked from them,” Rasmussen said.

Draper didn’t respond to queries seeking comment. Amaral’s lawsuit, meantime, which is focused on legal ownership of the land where the stream would be moved, winds its way through the court.

The impact of the suit on how the stream alteration request evolves “remains to be seen,” Rasmussen said.

Alexander, meanwhile, hopes via Saturday’s effort to add to the luster of Coldwater Creek, at least on the north side of 1900 North, from Washington Boulevard to the west. The concrete, he thinks, was placed along the banks of the creek by contractors of yesteryear.

“There’s been a lot of people using it as their personal dumping ground,” Alexander said.

The city has provided equipment to help haul off the concrete chunks and Alexander has high hopes. “That’s going to hopefully make a big dent in the look there and give everybody a sense of accomplishment,” he said.

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